Only the court can interpret the Constitution (Pt One)

first_imgDear Editor,The letter from Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan, who, interestingly enough, signed it, not as a Government Minister, but on behalf of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), warrants a response.This letter is the latest from the PNC and groups (and individuals) linked to the PNC and the PNC-led coalition Government, which seeks to defend President David Granger’s action. What we have seen is a breakaway from 25 years of established procedure. What we have also seen is a breach of the Constitution. There is no doubt, despite the many attempts by these ‘defenders’ that the Constitution was breached.Bulkan attempts to defend President Granger’s action by saying, “independently-thinking legal scholars (agreed that) the President’s action was correct in law, and is consistent with the constitutional mandate and rightful expectation bestowed upon him by virtue of his office. Therefore, any assertion that President Granger acted outside the letter and spirit of the law has no merit.” Who are these “independently-thinking legal scholars” Minister Bulkan refers to? The recently matriculated retired Rear Admiral and Presidential Advisor, Gary Best? The Attorney General, Basil Williams, who has demonstrated his incompetence time and time again?Editor, the fact is that it is only the court that has the authority and mandate to interpret the Constitution.In the case of Marcel Gaskin versus the Attorney General, in relation to the GECOM chairperson issue, the Chief Justice, Roxanne George, ruled that, “While the applicant (Gaskin) has not applied for a determination of this issue, it was raised by the Bar Association in its brief which was filed and served on all parties.… it does appear to me that failure to submit a list as provided for speaks to the provision of an acceptable list, as discussed earlier. If by not choosing any of the persons listed the President thereby find the list unacceptable, the proviso to Article 161 (2) would apply and the President should then go on to appoint a Judge or former Judge or person who would qualify for appointment as a Judge in Guyana or the Commonwealth to the post of Chairman of GECOM. But all of this in in effect academic because more than one list has been sought and provide.”The Chief Justice is the only independently-thinking legal scholar whose opinion matters in this case. The President cannot rely on the proviso to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution, when the Chief Justice said any discussion about the use of the proviso is rendered “academic” in light of the fact that three lists of GECOM nominees have been submitted to the President by the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.Sincerely,Nigel DharamlallPeople’s ProgressiveParty/Civic Memberof Parliamentlast_img read more